“The Best Innovation Tool is Continuous Learning”

Dennis Kennedy recently published a new book entitled Successful Innovation Outcomes in Law: A Practical Guide for Law Firms, Law Departments and Other Legal Organizations.  In essence, it’s a primer and “how-to” on innovation in law and generally.

Kennedy is well known as an astute legal commentator and thinker. Perhaps that’s because he has worn so many hats during his career: in-house lawyer, technologist, author, and adjunct professor, to name a few. As he puts it, “innovation is a visible thread that runs through my career.” (By way of disclosure, I have known Dennis for several years and, like many others, turn to him often for advice and guidance. He never disappoints).
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It a well-known phenomenon that unlike every other business and profession, lawyers avoid asking what their clients think of the services they have provided like the plaque. It’s almost like we fear the answer. And maybe we should.

Now, at least, thanks to Ari Kaplan, Relativity, and FTI, there are answers to questions about what clients want from lawyers and whether lawyers are providing it. And these answers are a little scary. 
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Last week, the annual Clio Conference was held in San Diego. Attended by approximately 2500 lawyers, technologists, and Clio customers, it has appropriately become the go-to legal tech conference. Part seminar, part marketing, and part pure celebration, it is almost everything you want a conference to be.

Clio provides cloud practice management programs mainly to small and mid-size law firms. Also, through partnerships with countless providers, it can offer a broad array of other products to customers. At its Conference, Clio releases a valuable Legal Trends Report, which looks at the practical and business trends of its law firm customers and others.

The Conference is chock full of useful information and included keynotes from such noteworthy writers and pundits as Daniel Pink, Shaka Senghor, and Glenn Greenwald. As my friend Joe Patrice wrote in Above the Law recently, “it might be fair to say that the show is about the philosophy of all legal technology and how its product fits into that…”


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Once upon a time,  red and white barber poles were used to identify barbers who also practiced  medicine on the side, since there was little money to be made from practicing medicine. The red and white barber pole had its origins in the old notion: “healing whatever ails you”; the red color actually represented blood shed during bloodletting.

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The partners of the Georgia firm Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers had a dilemma. Their firm was the largest litigation only firm in Georgia and one of the biggest in the south. But over the past several years, the firm had grown topsy-turvy: it added 60 lawyers since 2017, had added practice areas, and brought in lots of laterals. But its website, marketing materials, and even logo hadn’t changed in years. For its marketing to be effective, a new approach was needed to define better who and what the firm is now versus several years ago. But how to get there?


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Earlier this month, the 2019 LexisNexis CounselLink Enterprise Legal Management Trend Report was released. This is the 7th year the Report, which looks at data from invoices of over $33 billion in legal spending processed through the CounselLink platform, was compiled and issued.

CounselLink is a cloud based legal management platform that provides work management, financial management, vendor management, and legal holds solutions for corporate legal departments. It offers analytics and benchmarking tools for evaluating invoices and fees.
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Technology can solve many practical problems we face as lawyers if we only will think about the problem and apply technology in innovative ways. This was recently brought home to me in a serendipitous conversation with a lawyer and an expert.

For many years, I was a mass tort lawyer, often defending cases involving a single incident with multiple injuries, property damage and fatalities.  A catastrophic fire. A deadly building collapse. A massive explosion.

In most cases, the entities who end up being defendants in the resulting litigation rarely know of their involvement or potential involvement until months or even years after the event occurs. The practical result: those entities do not have the opportunity to have their experts inspect the scene and do a critical scene evaluation while the evidence is fresh and the least disturbed.
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Designing is not a profession but an attitude.

I talked last week to David Carns, the Chief Strategy Officer of Casepoint. Casepoint is an e-discovery cloud based provider that offers data-based intelligence and full-spectrum eDiscovery, including cloud collections, data processing, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, along with review and customizable productions.

I first met David and was introduced to the product earlier this year at Legalweek and mentioned it in my post about that conference. As I discussed in that post, I found the Casepoint product to be intuitive and enables litigators to find documents and materials they need to take meaningful depositions, respond to discovery and prepare for trial. I was so impressed by what it could do, I remarked, after playing around with it, that I got the itch to return to litigation just to use the tool to prepare for a document intensive  deposition.


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It was fourth and long for the 8th Circuit. It had previously ruled that North Dakota’s mandatory bar association rules passed constitutional scrutiny despite a First Amendment challenge by Arnold Fleck. But Fleck appealed that decision to the U. S. Supreme Court. SCOTUS directed the 8th Circuit to re-review its previous decision in light of the SCOTUS decision in Janus.

As previously discussed, Janus held that public sector unions could not, under state statute, deduct union fees from nonmember public employees unless those employees clearly and affirmatively waived their First Amendment freedom of association rights. Those rights include the ability to object to paying fees used for union activities that were political in nature.


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Every year since 1995, Mary Meeker issues a comprehensive, exhaustive and, definitive internet and social media trends report. This Report underscores the most important statistics and technology trends on the internet. It focuses on internet usage, advertising trends, and other tech trends. Almost everyone in the tech and social media areas pays particular attention to Meeker’s findings and statistics. This year’s Report came out in June. Meeker, left Kleiner Perkins last fall after eight years at the VC firm and is now with Bond Cap LLC.

I recently listened to the Kennedy-Mighell podcast in which they discussed the Report and its findings, which caused me to wade through the 334 slides that compose Meeker’s observations and analysis. I found key metrics that should interest lawyers and particularly trial lawyers.


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